I am listening to the Team990 in Montreal, where Mike Brophy is speaking with Tony Marinaro, and I can hardly believe my ears.
I knew - knew - the situation in Tampa Bay was not good. I mean from the random flagrant signing of almost every player during the off-season (many with no rhyme or reason), to the Barry Melrose worst-kept-secret-ever of replacing John Torterella as coach, to the early mis-treatment of superstars St. Louis and Lecavalier, to Melrose's early firing, the benching of Steven Stamkos, and now to the unbelievable financial woes.
I could have written a blog a week on the Tampa Bay Lightning this season. I knew they wouldn't be great. Ironically though, their offense suffered, which most people would not think on a team that boasts such offensive talent. Their goaltending, for a while, shone, actually. But make no mistake, the pieces never fit together. Not all that surprisingly.
And now, on January 12th, Mike Brophy is saying he very much expects Vincent Lecavalier to be traded by trade deadline. (March 4th for those of you that haven't already got it circled on your calendar.)
Vincent Lecavalier? The man I thought was untouchable? The man I've many times lauded for what he means to the area of Tampa Bay?
Lecavalier, St. Louis, and - - Steven Stamkos!
"Stamkos?" asked Marinaro.
"They are heading for a complete firesale," said Brophy.
Wow. I'm shocked and stunned on this Monday morning.
It wasn't too long ago HNIC's Ron McClean had one of the owners from Tampa on the show (Oren Koules?) - you know, the one who did those SAW movies. He didn't go too far into details, but he must have hid the horrifically inevitable well. Tampa is not as sunny as we all thought.
New coach - gone coach. New ownership - gone ownership?
And in my opinion, if Vincent Lecavalier is traded. . .
Bye bye to hockey in Tampa Bay. Done and done.
And it will be very sad.
Around the League/Columbus:
In other notes, while I'm on it, Mike Brophy went onto say that if the Columbus Blue Jackets make the playoffs, rookie goalie Steve Mason might be in line for:
Honestly, ignoring the hardware, what a GREAT story that would be. A long time finger-crosser for those other guys in blue, I would be thrilled if they made the playoffs. Thrilled. The league needs Rick Nash to be on a bigger stage. And as for Mason...any doubt the Rookies will beat the Sophomores in the Young Stars game in 2 weeks? right....
More to come, I guess. A shame. A true shame.